Watertown’s HATCH Makerspace has a temporary home when it loses its space in the Arsenal Mall, but library officials still need to find a permanent home.
Leone Cole, director of the Watertown Free Public Library, said officials are close to finalizing an agreement with The Residence at Watertown Square to move the makerspace into a vacant commercial space on the ground floor of the assisted living building at Spring and Summer streets.
That combined with the hiring of a full-time coordinator for HATCH will expand the offerings of the makerspace.
“We will be able to have more hours and better classes,” Cole said.
The space in The Residence is 1,200 square feet, but it will need to be completely outfitted inside, including a handicap bathroom and enough electrical service for all the equipment at HATCH.
Assistant Town Manager Steve said that The Residence has agreed to split the cost of the renovations for the HATCH space.
A permanent home for the makerspace still remains elusive, but Cole has a preference.
“Ultimately what we are hoping for is to go into the former Police Station,” Cole said.
The library also is in need of more meeting space, and Cole said that could be another be part of a renovated former Police Station.
Magoon said the decision on what to do with the old Police Station depends on whether the Watertown Public Schools needs the space for its administrative offices. School officials are in the process of planning renovations of all its schools, and it may include using the current central offices in the Phillips Building as a school.
The Library will also receive an extra $10,000 for materials in Fiscal 2018. Cole said that will be spent on buying more copies of popular materials in all formats available.
Also, Project Literacy, a program that teaches immigrants English, will get additional support from the town.
Some other additions to the Library include historic maps, which will soon go up in the hallway across from the Watertown Savings Bank Room on the first floor of the library. Also, there will be upgrades to the audio/visual system for the library, and a new system will be installed in the Watertown Savings Bank Room to allow people with hearing aids to hear more clearly.
Town Councilors thanked Cole and her staff for the work they have done to continue making the library an inviting place that draws more than 35,000 people a month.
“It is exciting to see so many people there, and so many things going on,” said Town Council President Mark Sideris.